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A Dedicated Photo/Image Scanner Proves Its Worth

A long time ago we purchased a flatbed photo scanner for the purpose of digitizing the huge collection of print photos we had shot and accumulated over the years. The particular model chosen was the Epson Perfection 636U. At the time that was at the upper end of the available. I believe, if I recall correctly, that the maximum scan resolution was 600 dpi. Not much by today's standards but really, considering that the typical photo scan or even digital production for print and certainly for on line presentation is 300 dpi, that was quite enough.

At the same time, to accommodate the task of scanning the huge collection of mounted slides shot before the move to prints some time in the early 1980's, we purchased a separate slide/film scanner for that task. I won't cover that one or even mention the name of it in this review since this review is focused on the print photo scanning process and capability of the new scanner. The subject of film./slide scanning will be covered later as for that media, the new scanner is well equipped.

The old Epson 636U scanner did a good job for several years. We never had the least technical problem with it and it always produced good results. The end of life for that scanner came when upon moving from XP to Windows 7 on the main computer here, the only existing drivers for the printer were not compatible with the newer Windows operating systems. The loss was not that problematic since by then we had already acquired two multifunction printer systems. You know, they're a printer, scanner, fax and copier all in one. Not doing much scanning at the time other than frequent plain documents, the scanners in those units proved quite adequate.

After having completed the slide scanning project a couple of years ago I began the process of going through all of the print photos. These covered family vacation trips and other activities dating back into the 1980's and I started the project, one photo album at a time. For the most part, the scanned results were respectable. After all, it's normal here for me to do some post processing of all images, shot and scanned using my photo editing tools. Color issues, noise and other faults could be dealt with varying degrees of success. Some of the pictures really required a lot more work to clean up the artifact resulting from the scans.

Neither of the combo unit scanners is equipped for scanning slides and negatives. While it is true, and someone will certainly propose that there is a solution such as making a homemade device to serve as a holder for negatives or slides, it can be done, the image quality is just not going to be there. The old slide/negative scanner I had used for all of the mounted slides suffered the same fault as the old Epson 636U flatbed scanner. It was not compatible with the newer Windows versions. Additionally, it was escruatingly slow, clanky and the scanned results were mostly horrible. Of course there were some images which turned out looking respectable and just like the scanned prints, with some after the scan work, they could be presentable.

We spent some time looking at various offerings for image scanners including dedicated transparency scanners as well as dedicated flatbed scanners which are equipped with slide/negative capability. I won't go through the whole process of comparing this model against that model or this name against that name but we did spend a lot of time doing just that and narrowed it down to one choice. I will say there are a lot of good contenders and what meets one person's need may not meet another's needs. Based on a number of factors including a lot of on line reviews from different sources, we chose the Epson B11B198011 Perfection V600 Photo Scanner . This is a dedicated flatbed scanner which will do print images but also has built in adapters to accommodate a range of transparencies such as mounted slides and film negatives.

We've had the scanner only a short time but I have begun to put it to good use. As we still have a huge number of print photos to scan, I am working on those at the moment and have not yet tried out the negative/slide capabilities. I have little doubt that the results on those images will be similar or the same as what we have found so far scanning prints. Below are two images, one scanned on a multifunction unit scanner and the other one, of the same photo print, scanned on the Epson Perfection V6600.


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The image above was scanned on a multifunction unit scanner. Though scanned at the same resolution as the one below (both at 300 dpi) notice the banding present within the darker areas. The image below was scanned with the Epson B11B198011 Perfection V600 Photo Scanner and though it does, as expected show a little color noise, that is much easier to correct for in post processing than the rough streaks produced in the image above. Naturally I followed the scanning process with some processing within my photo editor to smooth out the grainy look and the end result is much better. The point is, the better the image quality right out of the scanner, the better will be the result when the picture is finished and ready for presentation.


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The Epson scanner comes with a very capable set of scanning processing tools to result in the best image quality. The better the scanned image, the better will be the results following any additional photo processing in your favorite photo editing program. The pre-scan processing tools in multifunction unit scanners are much more limited.


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Excellent high quality reproductions of your favorite vacation and family photos can be preserved in digital image form allowing for long term safe keeping as well as for sharing with friends and family.


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Home | Collectible Dolls | Collectibles, Figurines & Collector Plates | Throws and Totes | Christian Ministry | Home Business | Contact Us | The Travel and Leisure Side There are places to go and things to see
| Photo Gallery We travel and we photograph our travels

Dan W. Dooley